Friday, December 9, 2016

Friday Favorites: Tis the Season Edition

Tis the Season... To be jolly, to have fun, to celebrate, to rejoice.... and to get sick. Sigh. So this week didn't turn out as planned at all, but our biggest is finally on the mend after 3 missed days of school and yet another strep diagnosis. We are so thankful for our wonderful NP, who just so happens to be one my besties, and her expertise, advice, and oh so wonderful bedside manner. Garrison is ready for school this morning and feeling 100% better. YAY!

Here's a look at my favorite moments from the week...

*Friday night we dropped off our babies with my parents and headed to our church for the Sunday School workers Christmas party. We had the best time. It was super festive and fun and the food was delicious. Plus our table was the best. =) 

*On Saturday afternoon we loaded up for a surprise trip to Six Flags and Holiday in the Park! And then we felt absolutely crazy because it started raining and we almost froze. Ha. Terrell's sister and her fam is giving us season passes for Christmas (which the boys don't know about) so we had to go in person to officially claim our passes but we wanted to keep the Christmas gift a secret. So we told the boys we were going to look at Christmas lights and ride just a few rides. =) They were so excited and loved their surprise! And they still don't know about our gift of season passes. 

If it wasn't raining and we weren't freezing I would have made tons more pictures. I was so impressed. Everything was decked out in lights and just beautiful.

The last things we did were let Garrison ride a roller coaster and then we all rode the train together to the North Pole. =) After that we were ready to thaw out, warm up, and get home! It was a really fun night.

*While Garrison's been sick these 2 have had plenty of play time in the afternoons and evenings. I am soaking up every bit of their ages. So fun!

*On Monday I was called into work so Layton spent the day with Granna and Piper. And while Piper was napping Granna and Layton made a Christmas tree together! It's now proudly displayed on our fridge and the big boys are super impressed! =)

*We introduced our littlest member to Yahtzee this week! We played 2 nights in a row and he did so good! Terrell and I just let the boys play so it would make the waiting between turns and the games themselves shorter and Layton was the perfect little player. He still doesn't really grasp everything about the game but he knows how to wait his turn and how to participate with help. We had the best time both nights we played.

*Doing our Advent calendar every morning as a family has been a favorite for all of us. We are loving watching the Nativity scene slowly unfold. Our nightly Advent devotion on the other hand has been a little challenging. Ha. Layton just isn't quite ready for it and sometimes it doesn't hold Austin's attention either. But we've found some little tricks that help so we may do more of around the table right after supper, or around the table with a small pre-bedtime snack. =)

*Garrison and Layton have had lots of extra time together this week with Garrison missing 3 days of school. Even though Garrison didn't feel like playing much Layton loved having him home and enjoyed his company so much. And I enjoyed watching my biggest and littlest share that extra time together. It was emotional and tough on the big boys to be separated, but all in all, I think everybody handled things pretty well. I know Austin is excited Garrison can finally go back to school with him today. 

*Yesterday my big boy turned a corner and started feeling MUCH better!! I was sooo thankful to see him getting back to normal! So we went out for a little Christmas shopping together since he was up for it. We had a great time together and got a lot accomplished. Yay!!

This weekend is going to be pretty full. Tonight the boys and I are on our own while Terrell goes out of town for the night and then bright and early tomorrow morning we're going to attempt to go see Santa!! We have our church Christmas program to go to tomorrow night (one of my most favorite Christmas traditions!) and Sunday morning Terrell and I are attending the service (for the first time in months! yay!) and then we're all going to the Happy Birthday Jesus party right after church. We also need to buy groceries and finish shopping at some point this weekend too. It should be full of Christmas fun. We're looking forward to it! Happy Friday!!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Christmas Home Tour!

I decided to do another Christmas Home Tour this year. It's our 2nd Christmas in our forever home and this year we have another room almost totally complete. It's one of my favorites now! We're slowly but surely making our way to each room that needs a makeover or touching up and getting it done. I am so thankful for our home and the special memories we'll get to make here for years to come!

Here's a look at our home during Christmas...

Walking in the front door we now have a brand new foyer and dining room! Last year this space was almost completely BARE. But this year it's inviting and special and feels like a room you want to spend time in. We are really loving everything about it now!

I felt confident putting out my real Nativity Scene this year and this has been the perfect spot for it. Layton occasionally pets a lamb or touches a wise man, but for the most part it's been totally safe here. And I love my burlap wreath. 

My mom painted and restored a vintage buffet for me and I am thrilled with how it turned out and the character it adds to the room! 

The "pencil pines" by the lamp were my Granny's and go perfect here. The NOEL sign came from Hobby Lobby and the lit trees are from Kirklands. Thank you gifts and gift cards!!! 

The newness still hasn't worn off for me so I love seeing this room coming down the stairs. After Christmas I'll have to find something to go on the buffet and to hang above it, but for now I'm not changing a thing.

I would however change those green walls going up the stairs, ha! We will eventually paint it's just not a top priority right now.

The great room is my favorite! I love having an open floor plan again and never tire of the view from my kitchen sink. 

We're doing a countdown to Christmas along with our Advent calendar and the boys have since taken over writing the number for us. Plus we keep part of our stash of Christmas books under this table. 

We love our tree!!

Especially as it gets dark...

This is my newest favorite ornament. We got it last year for our 1st Christmas in our house.

This year I added some glass hurricanes with red and silver ornaments to the mantle. 

I also got these new Christmas pillows from Kirklands. The famous and favorite Christmas carousel sits on the table and underneath we decided to put our little toy Santa Village. 

This carousel was given to us by my grandparents and it's a huge favorite for the boys. The carousel actually works just like a real one and the little toys on top move in and out. And it plays instrumental Christmas carols. Layton is especially wowed by it. =)  

I changed up this table just a little this year but overall it's still the "Pictures with Santa" table. We have the past 4 years of Santa pics displayed here. 

Here's the kitchen....

I like to decorate my counters just a little to make them festive but not overwhelmingly crowded. Cluttered counters and a messy kitchen sort of drive me crazy. Unfortunately it still happens! Haha. My snowman plate, snowman spoon rest, and glass jar of ornaments are just right. =)

Our Advent Nativity Calendar is displayed here (I made these pictures on December 1st) along with a new book my mom got for us called The First Christmas Night. It's a lyrical retelling of the birth of Christ modeled after 'Twas the Night Before Christmas'. The illustrations are gorgeous and I think this will be the book we read on Christmas Eve before bedtime. We read it as soon as we got it and all loved the story and illustrations and I didn't want it to get worn or torn so I decided to keep it safe by putting in on display. =)

Our table has a simple centerpiece from our very first Christmas as a married couple. 

11 Christmases later and we're still using it. =)

Now for the boys' rooms! This is the big boy room and their little tree... 

Sports and superheros sum it up. =)

And I always decorate their dresser with just a few little things too.

I hope Layton makes a Christmas plate when he starts preschool next year because I love these!! 

Layton's room with his tree... plus, if you look closely, Layton himself. =)

His tree has more of a transportation theme but is also just the perfect little boy tree. And we added a musical reindeer to his room from my grandparents. It plays Christmas carols music box style. He loves it!!

His dresser has a few Christmas touches too...

And the most special is this little wooden Nativity Scene. It was given to me on my very first Christmas by my Nanny and now I always display it in one of the boys' rooms each year.

I LOVE all of our decor and the "views" we get to enjoy in our very own home at Christmas.

This is such a special time of year and we are soaking up the twinkle lights, the fun and joy, and the anticipation of His birthday. So thankful for Emmanuel and the celebration of what this season means!!

Merry Christmas!!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Friday Favorites: Advent is Here!

And the heart that makes time and space for Him to come will be a glorious place.
A place of sheer, radiant defiance in the face of a world careening mad and stressed.
Because each day of Advent, we will actively wait. We will wait knowing that the remaking of everything has already begun. ~Ann Voskamp

Advent is here! The waiting and the coming of Jesus! I love this season and the hope and joy it brings!! 

I'm starting my days during Advent with The Greatest Gift. I read it last year each morning in December and I'm doing it again this year. It is amazing and I can't recommend it enough. We also love starting each day as a family with our Nativity Advent Calendar. (The price has gone up on Amazon but it's cheaper other places) We're also attempting something new this year and doing Ann Voskamp's family devotional. We're just doing the devotional and discussions this year, nothing extra. In the future we may do more, but for now we're planning to keep it simple and hoping we can still keep up!  

This week has been a little on the crazy side. I've come down with an awful nagging cough, it has taken a sweet forever to get the house cleaned and back in order after finishing up all of our Christmas decorating, and we've all been a little slow getting back into the swing of things. But we are enjoying all things Christmas and this season of Advent SO much. 

Here's a look at my faves...

*Thanksgiving Eve shenanigans. Haha. We enjoyed our break to the fullest. 

*All piled into daddy's truck about to head to the tree farm for one of our favorite traditions! With Christmas books in tow!! 

*Last year we got the boys Christmas pillowcases as a fun surprise to enjoy during the Christmas season and on Friday I changed the sheets and made up all the beds so they'd be surprised to find them Friday night. Mission accomplished!! They were THRILLED.  

*There's something here that doesn't belong... that definitely wasn't a part of the 1st Christmas. Hahaha. #Laytonwashere #boymomlife

*Layton spent a couple of days with Granna and Piper this week and he discovered a new favorite Christmas decoration. 

*The double Ferris Wheel that actually goes and plays Christmas music. He's smitten. =)

*My mom hosted us and Anna's family on Tuesday night for supper and made us a huge feast! And this is after she hosted Thanksgiving! Obviously we're extremely spoiled and the bar has been set HIGH. =) It was a fun, delicious, and festive night. 

*Soooo good. #southernfood #soulfood #thebestfood

*2 of my favorite people. =)

*On Wednesday we completed our 30 days of Thanksgiving. Every year since Garrison was 3 and a half I've asked the boys what they're thankful for each morning in November. It's a great way for us to be intentional about gratefulness but also to acknowledge God as our Provider and the giver of all good things. They enjoy it so much that they reminded me several mornings throughout the month! 

We had one repeat on Garrison's by mistake and Layton had several repeats which we eventually tried to discourage because he was thankful for tractors a LOT, hahaha, but each of their personalities can be seen a little in their lists and it's become a neat little tradition. (Brandi, you made Austin's list after your help with getting his brothers well. =))

*Game Night by the Christmas tree! Don't Break the Ice is a favorite for all 3 boys. =)

*Favorite Not-Pictured Moment: Last night was our first family devotional with Unwrapping the Gift by Ann Voskamp. It started off a little wild (and honestly Layton never really did calm down, ha), but it turned out so special. The big boys seemed to really enjoy it and I loved our discussion once we finished the reading. I think it's going to be a really meaningful addition to our Christmas season. I'm especially looking forward to starting each day together with our Nativity Advent Calendar and then wrapping up each day together with our devotion. 

We are so thankful for Friday and the weekend!! (Especially after coughing kept me up half the night last night. Ugh.) Tonight Terrell and I have a Christmas party to attend and the rest of the weekend is pretty wide open. We're hoping to tackle a couple more Christmas projects around the house... possibly some outdoor decorations so we aren't the lone dark house on our street, haha, and maybe even getting a tree up in the basement. That one's a long shot but we'll see. I'm also starting on Christmas cards and wrapping. So it should be full of Christmas fun. =) Happy Friday, Happy Weekend!!